Right, on with part three of the improving the Vintage V100s!
Firstly before starting any work on a nice shiny guitar we need some protection for the finish. A slipped screwdriver or some stray molten solder can wreak havoc, so better safe than sorry. There are lots of different ways of doing this … but mine uses a couple of layers of low-tack 2” masking tape. It’s easy and fast to apply, protects against most things, and peels without leaving residue. My workbench has a folded pad of material (some old red drape – a souvenir from the Royal Albert Hall) to protect the instrument, and the neck is supported in a foam cradle.
Right off with the lid to see the rubbish within Iced T’s innerds
Not even as pretty as Tobacco’s! Puny wiring and pigeon-poo soldering … yuck. The switch compartment was similarly nasty!
Someone seems to have had a hole drilling party here oddly. Only three are used to mount the cover!
First Job: the pots: 500k, 2 logarithmic taper for the volume, and two linear taper for the tone. Others may argue and say Log for everything … I quite like log for tone … and it’s my guitar okay?
I punch some holes in cardboard in the pattern of the mounting holes in the guitar top and assemble the bulk of the harness on the bench … NOT IN THE GUITAR! Why? Because there’s bugger all room in a Les Paul wiring compartment , and the depth of the rout makes it tough to see what you’re doing at the bottom. Much better out where the dog can see the rabbit!
Note: I’ve used some cloth insulation stripped off my stock of ‘hookup’ wire on the capacitor legs. Belt and braces really … a lot of people wouldn’t bother, but if one of those legs grounds out to that ‘earth bus’ that links the pots, there’ll be trouble and things won’t work properly!
There’s a great deal of bollocks talked about paper in oil capacitors and how smooth and vintage they sound … mostly it’s talked by those who want to sell you ‘vintage’ capacitors! Simply get a good cap (in this case .22uf Sprague Orange Drops) and save your money. There is no detectable difference between vintage and modern high quality caps … end of story.
Right out come the Wilkinson humbuckers …
note the protection for the body
I’m going to be re wiring with proper, fifties style single conductor screened cable (Allparts UK) and it will be a tight squeeze getting it through those wiring tunnels!
Three long lengths go from the switch compartment to the control compartment … measure thease carefully using the old wiring as a pattern!
I’m keeping the original switch for the time being … it works fine, and as I said before … this is on a budget.
There is an old fifties knack to parting the braid neatly on this type of cable … my dad was an old fifties engineer and taught me:
First kink your wire
Then use your nails or a non-metallic instrument to gently part the braids on the apex of the ‘kink’
Then using a small pointed tool - I use an old multi meter probe - pull the ‘tail' of wire out through your newly made hole
Like so … lovely and neat … and period correct!
That’s about all I have room for here …
See you in part 4 where I put it all together!